Synopses & Reviews
For a physicist, all the world's information. The Universe and its workings are the ebb and flow of information. We are all transient patterns of information, passing on the recipe for our basic forms to future generations using a four-letter digital code called DNA.
In this engaging and mind-stretching account, Vlatko Vedral considers some of the deepest questions about the Universe and considers the implications of interpreting it in terms of information. He explains the nature of information, the idea of entropy, and the roots of this thinking in thermodynamics. He describes the bizarre effects of quantum behaviour - effects such as 'entanglement', which Einstein called 'spooky action at a distance' and explores cutting edge work on the harnessing quantum effects in hyperfast quantum computers, and how recent evidence suggests that the weirdness of the quantum world, once thought limited to the tiniest scales, may reach into the macro world.
Vedral finishes by considering the answer to the ultimate question: where did all of the information in the Universe come from? The answers he considers are exhilarating, drawing upon the work of distinguished physicist John Wheeler. The ideas challenge our concept of the nature of particles, of time, of determinism, and of reality itself.
"Let Vedral guide you skillfully through the wonderland of modern physics - where nothing is as it seems. This is the finest treatment I have read of the weird interplay of quantum reality, information and probability."--Paul Davies, author of The Eerie Silence and The Goldilocks Enigma
"An engaging, non-technical exploration of what the new theory of quantum information and computation tells us about life, the universe, and everything."--David Deutsch, author of The Fabric of Reality
"Vedral embarks on an exuberant romp through physics, biology, philosophy, religion and even personal finance. By turns irreverent, erudite and funny, Decoding Reality is ... a ripping good read."--New Scientist
"Vedral makes a good case for seeing 'the universe as quantum information,' and he presents the material quite engagingly."--The Complete Review
"Once he has defined information, Mr Vedral proceeds to show how information theory can be applied to biology, physics, economics, sociology and philosophy. These are the most interesting parts of the book. Of particular note is the chapter on placing bets. ... And his exposition of climate change and how to outwit the CIA make entertaining reading."--The Economist
"Yes, these are serious ideas but no one could present them in a more entertaining fashion." -- Buffalo News
"The book is fascinating, thought-provoking, and extremely ambitious with big claims, although uneven in coverage, depth, and style. He brings to the foreground with expertise, clarity, persuasion, and enthusiasm the central concepts of information theory and revitalizes their pervasive applications to widely different domains, from physics to economics." -- The Quarterly Review of Biology
"The book is fascinating, thought-provoking, and extremely ambitious with big claims, although uneven in coverage, depth, and style. The book is simply a must read, a diamond in the rough." -- Apostolos P. Georgopoulos, Center for Cognitive Sciences, University of Minnesota
About the Author
studied undergraduate theoretical physics at Imperial College London, where he also received a PhD for his work on 'Quantum Information Theory of Entanglement'. Since June 2009, Vedral has moved to Oxford as Professor of Quantum Information Science. Throughout his career he has held a number of visiting professorships at different international institutions. He has published more than 130 research papers and has written two textbooks. He has written for popular science journals and major daily newspapers, as well as doing extensive radio programmes and television interviews.
Table of Contents
1: Creation Ex Nihilo: something from nothing
2: Information for all seasons
3: Back to basics: bits and pieces
4: Digital romance: life is a four-letter word
5: Murphy's Law: I knew this would happen to me
6: Place your bets: in it to win it
7: Social informatics: get connected or die tryin'
8: Quantum schmuntum: lights, camera, action!
9: Surfing the waves: hyper-fast computers
10: Children of the aimless chance: randomness versus determinism
11: Sand reckoning: whose information is it, anyway?
12: Destruction ab toto: the darkness of reality